Dig and Discover: Sleep - Sleep's Holy Mountain
ALBUM: SLEEP'S HOLY MOUNTAIN
LABEL (YEAR): EARACHE RECORDS (1992)
FOR FANS OF:
BLACK SABBATH, KYUSS, EYEHATEGOD
Words by Chris Gaduzo
Sleep are perhaps best known for recording the hour-long song ‘Dopesmoker’, which consists of one riff and lyrics about some sort of stoner caravan. Before that, however, they released Sleep's Holy Mountain, that, despite its less-than-great production, showed everyone that stoner metal could actually be a thing, and that you could play lower and slower than Black Sabbath.
The beautiful thing about Sleep is the fact that it’s a trio, and they sound like one too. Matt Pike’s vibrato enhanced power chords sound massive on tracks like ‘The Druid’, anchored by Al Cisnero's rumbling basslines while Chris Hakus holds it all together beautifully on the drums. However, it’s not all riffs and pummelling. Sleep know they can write great songs. The instrumental breaks, during the eight-minute ‘Holy Mountain’ are extremely well placed. ‘Dragonaut’ probably contains the best riff Sleep ever wrote, and it only happens once during the entire song.
Al Cisnero's vocals are another interesting aspect of the band. Although he is pretty much following the riffs, his half sung half chanted lyrics suit the doped-out feel of the music: “Look into the rays of the new red sun arising”. Although ‘Dopesmoker’ is definitely the heaviest thing ever recorded, as well as the most ridiculous, I always liked it when Sleep wrote actual songs, rather than huge pieces of music, and Sleep's Holy Mountain is still held in high regard by worshippers of Iommi, over 20 years on.